Slightly over 7,000 people call Inverness, which is in Citrus County in central Florida, home.
It’s approximately a forty-minute drive southwest of Ocala, and while day visits to neighboring towns are common, those who would prefer not to waste precious holiday time confined in a car may enjoy a range of adjacent recreational alternatives.
Large citrus trees and the area’s closeness to several state and national parks, which are perennial favorites with the fit and outdoor-loving population, are two of the area’s most well-known features.
Here are 15 activities in and around Inverness that are highly recommended by travelers.
- 1. Half Moon Wildlife Management Area
- 2. The Silver River Museum and Environmental Education Center
- 3. Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing
- 4. Strong Tower Vineyard
- 5. Appleton Museum of Art
- 6. Crews Lake Wilderness Park
- 7. Nature Coast Botanical Gardens & Nursery
- 8. Crystal River
- 9. Pine Ridge Community Golf Course
- 10. Valerie Theater
- 11. Citrus County Courthouse Museum
- 12. Citrus County Speedway
- 14. Fort Cooper State Park
- 15. Inverness Visitor Center
1. Half Moon Wildlife Management Area
Even by Florida park standards, Half Moon Wildlife Management Area is sizable at around 10,000 acres. It is made up of a range of picturesque natural environments, including as hammocks, marshes, and flatwoods, that support a wide range of animal species, many of which are easily observed.
Bicyclists, pedestrians, and equestrians can use the vast network of multipurpose routes inside the management area. They’re excellent locations to observe a wide range of birds, such as wading birds, raptors, and many kinds of woodpeckers.
Get a map at the gate beside the main entry parking lot before you go exploring on your own.
2. The Silver River Museum and Environmental Education Center
The primary objective of the distinctive Silver River Museum and Environmental Education Center, which is managed by the neighborhood school system, is to introduce kids to the wonders of the natural world and the history of the region.
In Ocala, the museum and teaching center may be found at NE 58th Avenue. On weekends, they are available to the general public and entrance is just a few bucks, even if during the week they are exclusively open to schoolchildren and field excursions.
Before leaving, be sure to check the staff’s calendar of activities as they provide a variety of programs and tours in addition to interactive displays including animals, environment, and Native Americans.
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3. Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing
Drag racing enthusiasts view “Big Daddy” Don Garlits as the originator of the sport, and his museum is a haven for devoted followers.
Over four decades and over a hundred first-place results, as well as an incredible seventeen world titles, were all part of Don Garlits’ career.
The Garlits live next door to the museum, which is situated on SW 16th Avenue in Ocala. This is in contrast to other sports celebrities who reside in gated neighborhoods.
Visitors enjoy the restored vehicles, outfits, pictures, and first-hand recollections of key events in his remarkable career. Interactive and audio-visual exhibits are also available.
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4. Strong Tower Vineyard
Florida is renowned for its golf courses, beaches, and top-notch amusement parks, but it also has a strong wine industry, with Strong Tower Vineyard in Spring Hill being one of the region’s most well-known locations.
For those who want unusual wines, the vineyard provides a seasonal wine selection with robust reds and other berry-based wines that are particularly delicious.
Regular facility tours are available, and there’s a nice veranda where you can unwind with a drink or two after a tiring day of walking.
Before moving on to your next experience, stop by the gift store where their wines are available for purchase.
5. Appleton Museum of Art
Fine art enthusiasts should not miss the Appleton Museum of Art, which is situated near Ocala on the College of Central Florida campus.
The museum has five unique rooms, a stage for live performances, and a lovely courtyard with plants and shaded spots to sit.
Since its founding in 1987, the museum has amassed a collection of diverse, modern and antique pieces from almost every continent, including Europe, Africa, and Asia.
The year is filled with unique events, such as juried art contests, art fairs, guest lectures, and educational programs for professionals, novices, and even young children.
6. Crews Lake Wilderness Park
Although Crews Lake Wilderness Park is near to Spring Hill’s downtown, its more than 100 acres allow it to have an atmosphere that is often reserved for bigger, more rural parks.
There is a vast network of multi-use paths throughout the park that go through a variety of habitats. There are several bird feeders along the route that attract a wide variety of bird species, as well as an observation tower and well-kept gardens.
There are several of places along the trails where hikers may set up a blanket and have a picnic. When it’s not too hot outside and the animals are most active, the park is very enjoyable in the morning and evening.
7. Nature Coast Botanical Gardens & Nursery
Nature Coast Botanical Gardens & Nursery, one of those frequently disregarded holiday spots that typically give guests the impression that they are much more removed from civilization than they actually are, is situated on Parker Avenue in the neighboring town of Spring Hill.
The garden grounds are described as tranquil, quiet, and colorful; while they are lovely all year round, they are especially so in March when they bloom.
For those who are undertaking some outside landscaping, the on-site nursery is an excellent spot to pick up landscaping pieces. Herbs, palms, and a range of native and exotic plants, trees, and flowers are represented.
8. Crystal River
One of the greatest manatee populations in the state may be found in the Crystal River near Inverness; during the winter, when the river’s temperature is higher than other coastal waterways, the manatees are especially common.
In addition, it’s one of the few locations where guests may swim with manatees in their native environment. The springs that feed it maintain the water’s temperature in the low 70s all year round.
The river has many entry locations, and many guests opt to swim, hike, and fish for the whole day. For those who would rather be on the go, the neighboring town offers a range of stores and eateries in addition to a historic plantation.
9. Pine Ridge Community Golf Course
The three nine-hole sections of Pine Ridge Community Golf Course are open to the public and, when played in any order, total about 6,400 yards from the men’s tees.
There are alternative choices that drastically cut down on the overall yardage of the course to suit the young, old, and ladies who would prefer not to play from the men’s tees. Club and cart rentals are also offered.
Professional instruction, practice greens, and a driving range are among the amenities offered by the course. Walking is permitted, although most players choose to pay a little bit more for a cart, particularly in the sometimes sweltering summer months.
10. Valerie Theater
The Valerie Theater has had an unpredictable sequence of booms and busts, much like many historic theaters around the nation. Despite being constructed in the 1920s, it was abandoned and neglected for the most of its existence.
Just a few years ago, it was finally reopened following major restoration. It is currently a well-liked entertainment destination with year-round theatrical productions, concerts, movies, and other special events.
Modern sound and lighting complement the theater’s rustic appeal, which is acknowledged by previous visitors as making for fantastic performances. Also, the pricing are fair.
11. Citrus County Courthouse Museum
Constructed in 1912, the county courthouse presently serving as the Citrus County Courthouse Museum’s location. The Citrus County Historical Society currently calls it home, despite the fact that building no longer serves an official purpose.
Numerous striking exhibits that highlight the county’s economics, culture, and settlement are on display in the museum. Even artwork from regional and local artists is on exhibit there.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions or take a dime-tour with volunteers who are always pleased to answer them and provide information about the area. They frequently hold temporary history and art exhibitions from other institutions as well.
12. Citrus County Speedway
The Citrus County Speedway is a unique figure-8 racetrack that is situated on South Florida Avenue in Inverness. Throughout the season, it conducts several notable events.
There are races in many classifications with drivers ranging from professional to up-and-coming local talent.
The track is renowned for its thunderous engines, passionate spectators, and thrilling ambience; it’s an event not even for non-racing enthusiasts to be missed.
For a comprehensive schedule of forthcoming races, see their website. You can also check out the driver’s bio page, which features information on the drivers who will be competing in upcoming events.
14. Fort Cooper State Park
With over 700 acres, Fort Cooper State Park is a large attraction that appeals to nature enthusiasts and energetic, outdoorsy types due to its variety of recreational opportunities.
Popular daytime activities include swimming, fishing, and tanning. Boat-borne nature trips are also quite popular.
An yearly reenactment of a fight that occurred between Europeans and Seminole Indians more than a century ago takes place in March, if you chance to be around.
The park has long pathways that make it easy to observe a wide range of wildlife, and it is also a component of the Great Florida Birding Trail.
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15. Inverness Visitor Center
For those visiting an area for the first time, there are few better places than visitors’ centers to check out first.
The Inverness Visitor Center is located on East Dampier Street in town and is open daily from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM.
The center is on the shores of Lake Henderson and is full of regional and state tourist information, including maps, travel magazines, and discount books, many of which offer exclusive deals on everything from tours and lodging to dining and recreational activities.
The center is also staffed by knowledgeable locals who are full of useful information and unique ideas for things to do that are often overlooked.